SPRING HILL Kan. – The Spring Hill City Council remains in a political stalemate following the seventh consecutive meeting without a quorum.
While the council attempted to meet Tuesday afternoon, the governing body could not conduct formal business due to the absence of Councilmember Steve Owen.
On Jan. 10, newly elected council members Brian Peel and Joe Berkey were sworn into office. Shortly after the council voted for Berkey to take over the role of mayor following the resignation of former city council member and Mayor-elect Tyler Graves.
Immediately after Berkey was seated, Owen left the meeting and has not returned. That night Owen left behind a letter voicing his concerns over what he felt was a lack of public transparency in the election of the new mayor.
Between Owen’s absence and Graves’ vacant council seat, the city council lacks a quorum to conduct any formal business.
On Nov. 18, City Attorney Charles Dunlay released a legal opinion outlining the process the city would follow to fill the vacant council seat and select a new mayor. When asked what the city could do legally to end the current political standstill, Dunlay said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
FOX4 reached out to Kristen Boxman, a spokesperson for the city, for more information on how the governing body would proceed without a quorum and if the city is exploring options to remove Owen from council due to his chronic absence. Boxman declined to comment.
FOX4 has reached out to Owen multiple times for a comment on his absence, but has not received a response.
The Spring Hill City Council will attempt to meet on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. If enough councilmembers are not present for the meeting, no formal city business will be conducted.